How to Spend Wisely This Summer

By Kaitlin Hurtado on June 20, 2021

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Summer days are most likely a lot different as an adult than the ones you experienced as a young child. Long gone are the days that you could spend every hour freely for days on end, or go on a family vacation without a care in the world. As an adult, extended breaks are harder to come by, whether it be due to summer classes, your work schedule, or other personal obligations. Something even more difficult to come by? A free budget. Depending on your financial situation, the summer activities you experienced as a child — beach trips, road trips, amusement parks — may not necessarily be the most ideal for your budget now.

That being said, that does not mean you have to spend your summer days shuttered inside and not enjoying yourself. With the right amount of planning and budgeting, you can still treat yourself to a summer trip (or two) this year. Keep reading for tips on how to spend wisely this summer.

Photo: Pexels

Stay local 

Going on the perfect summer trip doesn’t necessarily have to entail going to this year’s travel hotspot or traveling abroad to a foreign country. One of the best parts of vacation for many is just being able to have the opportunity to get out of the house and experience a new setting, even if that means just going a couple hours outside of the city you live in with a staycation.

Besides, have you ever experienced a local town as a tourist? Sure, you may be used to experiencing the town for a day trip to visit a specific store or restaurant, but you may not have ever been able to experience it as a tourist. Staying local can allow you to cut back on the amount of money (and time) you would spend traveling to a farther destination. If you are looking to spend more quality time with friends, staying local can be the perfect opportunity to show your friends from out of town around and getting to experience a local town in a new way.

Get creative with how you travel 

While you may think that a large part of your summer budget is how much spend on accommodations — hotels, hostels, Airbnbs — you may actually be shelling out a large part of your budget on travel. If your destination is far, your only choice of travel might be a plane. However, if you are simply traveling across your state, or even traveling a state or two away, consider putting a hold on booking a flight and instead, look for alternate methods of travel.

A road trip is an obvious alternate method, especially if you aren’t traveling alone. A road trip is an experience in itself, especially if you plan out a route where you can sightsee or stop along the way to your final destination. Traveling in a group can also help when everyone can take turns driving, and more importantly, help cover the cost of gas. No desire to drive? No problem at all. See if there is a train or bus that will be able to take you where you need to go. If you are a student, you may also want to check if you can get a student discount to help you save even more.

Saving on travel does not stop with choosing how you are getting to your summer destination, you can also plan to save on traveling around during your summer vacation. Depending on where you are planning to travel, walking everywhere may be an easy decision. However, you may not always be able to rely on being able to get everywhere on foot due to the weather, accessibility concerns, or long distances between where you are staying and where you want to travel for the day.

Uber, Lyft, or taxis may seem like a great idea at first, but they can quickly add up. Consider renting a car for the duration of your trip. If you are going to rely on car trips for the majority of your vacation, it could be worth the investment. If renting a car isn’t within your budget, look at the local transportation system and see how you can save. Can you buy a day or multiple day bus pass to travel around the city rather than calling a taxi?

Spend money on experiences, not material goods

Why do most people go on summer vacations, to begin with? For the experience itself. Not for the cheesy t-shirts, the keychains, or bulky magnets that will get lost a few years down the road. These items may bring you temporary satisfaction, but will likely be forgotten fairly quickly. They can also quickly eat through your travel budget.

Instead, spend your money on experiences you can keep with you for life — renting a paddleboat to explore the local waters, a snorkel experience, surfing lessons. Spend your money on gaining experiences unique to your summer destination.

Enjoying your summer doesn’t have to mean spending all your hard-earned money in the span of a few days. With proper planning, you can still enjoy your summer while spending money wisely.

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